Friday, August 21, 2009

The Perfect Pen

I drove home despite having not eaten for 15 hours, having not slept the entire night before, and being on medication for my dizziness. I nearly swerved out of my lane and hit a truck because of a "dead, smashed rat with a big ass" in the middle of the road, well at least that's what my mom said. I swear to god it was a live pigeon, plump and kickin' and ultimately sadistic.

We had to stop by a stationary store to pick up supplies for Wellesley. I bought two hundred dollars worth of tree-killing crap, and about one third of that purchase was post-its of all sizes, shapes, and colors. I hardly use post-its, actually. My excuse was that I need to mark a lot of my books because "Remember? I'm majoring in English Literature so that I will have the skills to go on to law school and then graduate with great skills in bullshitting to become a successful art dealer when I retire at twenty five and marry a wealthier lawyer." Somehow, Michael will graduate high school with good enough grades to go into Marine Biology and then transform into a get rich quick! lawyer.

Anyway, so I had to pick up a couple of pens. Now in Taipei, when you choose a pen, you choose a pen. And I'm talking hundreds of varieties here; thin tipped and smooth ink, ballpoint and wide, shaky lines where the ink flows in a pattern of heavy-light-heavy-light, ink that bleeds into the paper like a terrible watercolor painting, ink that stands out on the paper like linear braille, ink that dries matte, ink that dries gloss. Damn it, it's basically like the cereal alley of American supermarkets except worse. It really just comes down to who you are and what type of job you have. For example, my freshmen art teacher really liked the ballpoint pens where you had to press down REALLY hard to get some ink flowing, the kind that would really fuck up a kidnapper's ransom note. As an artist, he was intrigued by media that could add aesthetic elements to the simplest of artistic exercises. To him, those paper digging ballpoint pens covered surfaces but also added texture (very obvious when you flipped the paper over and saw your handwriting in mirror view). My Spanish teacher liked the pens that glided ink on smoothly; the kind where you lightly place the tip of your pen on the paper and a big, dark, fuzzy spot immediately ensues. She wanted the job done (Yo quiero la tarea mañana, ocho páginas de mano y en doble espacio, no hay excusas!) and hell no to those ballpoint pens that left tracings of previous writing on the next page. That meant easy cheating, obviamente!

I bought black, blue, and green pens. Green because it is good for the eyes, obviamente! And I just grabbed the cheapest ones because I am practicing the art of being a broke and frugal college student. That's who I am and that's my job.

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